Browsing CategoryTravel

Travel Where You’re Welcome

Travel Where You’re Welcome

My husband and I recently took a trip to the Appalachian Mountains. The town we stayed in was so friendly. I wondered what it must be like to deal with tourists, especially if there is a language barrier with tourists from another country. Are some places friendlier than others to tourists?

A study has reported that, actually, the locals of some countries are friendlier and more patient and helpful than people in other countries. Considering that my husband and I plan to do more traveling as we age, I thought it would be a good idea to make note of at least a few of these tourist friendly places and put them at the top of our list of where we should go next.

One place that I have never heard of is Burkina Faso. According to travel experts the people of this little landlocked country that can be found in West Africa offer the warmest welcome ever to travelers. Theirs is a culture of open markets that are filled with colorful crafts that are handmade. Expect a lively shopping experience filled with the aroma of spices and sizzling meats accompanied by upbeat folk music.

While in West Africa visiting Burkina Faso, we might then want to take a tour of Senegal. It’s had a bit of a bad rap since the Ebola scare of 2014, but, in truth, it is not some rustic backwater. Senegal is full of luxurious cosmopolitan grade resorts all along its coastline. Inland excursions offer the opportunity for photo safaris of exotic creatures such as rhinos, giraffes and hippos.

Dublin at night down by the Liffey River

Ireland is another great tourist friendly place to visit. It also seems to be one of the safest places to travel since it is the number one destination for women who are traveling alone. Biking the byways of Ireland from village to village is a great way to see the country and stopping in at the local pubs is a great way to engage in friendly conversations with the warm hearted locals.

If geographical diversity is appealing, Bosnia and Herzegovina has a bit of everything. From snow skiing the mountainsides to kayaking the Mediterranean, there is no shortage of interesting excursions to enjoy. Visitors are greeted warmly and the people are full of smiles, eager to help and point out the right direction.

And, of course, if snow skiing is your…Continue Reading

Travel Smart

Travel Smart

My husband and I are by no means rich. We are working class people trying to manage our finances as we get older and have children to help through their college years. But, we all know the old adage, “all work and no play makes Jack a dull boy”. We feel strongly that vacations are necessary for us to recharge and return refreshed for another year of providing for our family. So, even though many have no idea how we can afford such a luxury, I simply say it’s all about the planning and the expectations. I don’t expect a five-star luxury resort. I do expect a romantic time alone with my husband without any distractions.

So, when loved ones who know we are not made of money ask us, “How could you afford to go there for an entire week?” I tell them it’s definitely not about booking an all-inclusive package with a travel agent because you’re looking at the travel agent!

The first step to take about creating an affordable vacation is to do all the planning yourself. Once you decide what your budget is for the entire week, break down what you will need for lodging, entertainment and food and drink per day. The remaining balance dictates whether you can afford airfare or if it will be a driving vacation closer to home.

Family in the airport

Next, log on to the Internet. Check out some of those plan-your-own trip websites that bundle airfare with a rental car and lodging. Another great option is if you have a nearby bus or train station. Now, I’m not talking about your regular Greyhound line that we’re all familiar with. There’s a line called Megabus. It’s an express so it travels non-stop from point A to point B. The fares are ridiculously low making it entirely possible to travel roundtrip across the country on about twenty bucks if you’ve got the time to make the necessary connections.

If you check into Amtrak passenger rail, opt for the cheaper coach seats. If you travel with little children overnight it’s better to get a private suite. However, for two adults just trying to get from one spot to another, the coach seats are comfortable enough to sleep in even if you book a “red-eye”.  They have a car with a snack bar and an upper observation car that is open to all. It’s just one more…Continue Reading

Nudity Here, Nudity There

On a recent trip to South America I traveled deep in the jungle of the Amazon rainforest. Outside a remote village, my “taxi” traversed a rickety bridge over a river. I looked out of the car window to a view of a rocky riverbed. I saw about a dozen people swimming and jumping off of rocks into the water. After a few moments I realized they were all different ages, mixed sexes and all were naked. As an American growing up in a Puritan influenced society, my first reaction was surprise and feeling that this was inappropriate. Then, when my maturity and education overwhelmed the conditioning of my youth, I realized that in this culture, this was perfectly acceptable. Thus began a curiosity about nudity.

Throughout history, nudity has meant different things to different cultures. When primeval man began to wear the skin and fur of animals, he sought to protect himself from the elements.  Clothing has served this practical purpose and also to establish rank in society. Almost every society has their own ethnic style of fashion as well as their own ideas about nudity.

Experts can date clothing as far back as over 70,000 years ago. If this number is to be trusted, it is then possible to consider that for almost 130,000 humans, for all practical purposes, were naked creatures. I personally think they were wearing clothes even then, the problem is that decomposition has destroyed any evidence of the biological material that was used to cover their patooties.

No shirt, no shoes, no service would not have been a very successful business practice in ancient Egypt. For almost one thousand years the Egyptians maintained the same fashion trend. Men usually wore only a tunic around their waist. Women draped sheer fabric round their bodies. Children did not begin to wear clothes until they reached the age of twelve years. Nakedness was nothing to be concerned with in ancient Egypt.

Frescoes discovered on the island Santorini of Greece depicts young, Minoan men boxing in the buff. Historically, Greeks were well known for their lack of clothing. Many works of art preserved throughout this Mediterranean region proudly display the  nude, athletic bodies of men and boys, although it was rare to see the artwork of this time portraying women and girls naked.

Spartan culture was famous for its prowess as a warrior nation. Warrior training was typically done naked. The arena, where Sparta conducted public sport for entertainment, was also performed naked. When they would hold public festivals or parades, women…Continue Reading